Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Vote Now! The 2015 Miserable Crank Awards: Day Three

Here are the candidates for day three of voting for the Miserable Crank Awards of 2015.

Left Shark
You know what’s a pretty big deal? The Superbowl. You know what is also a pretty big deal? Katy Perry. Well, your mileage may vary on that, but, still, playing the halftime show at the most-watched event each year is a highlight of anyone’s career. So when Perry put on a hell of a show that featured various beach-themed elements, it was well-received…especially a dancing shark, who was clearly out of his or her depth, flailing around like a fish out of…out of something while the opposing right shark parades around flawlessly.

Ariana Grande
This year’s hot new star, the very young and talented Ariana Grande made quite a few enemies when she was captured on video at a donut shop doing two very unfortunate things: claiming she hated America (apparently based on the metric of donut consumption), and then licking donuts intended for other customers. Aside from the hygienic of the situation, talking trash about your potential customer base can be career-destroying (please see: Chicks, Dixie).

Taylor Swift/Nicki Minaj Feud
Ain’t no feud like a twitter feud, because a twitter feud is an obnoxious waste of time. Two very popular singers, Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj, got into a relatively minor argument about the MTV Video Music Award nominees, where Minaj made increasingly specific jabs at Swift getting nominated instead of her, and when Swift took the bait Minaj claimed innocence. This eventually spread to a host of other nominees and celebrities with their two cents, which on the surface was fairly good-natured but still drug up issues of race, image, and sexism. Thankfully, just like anything that has even happened on twitter, none of it mattered to a whole lot. 

Adam Sandler's Career
Adam Sandler hasn’t had a great year. Well, he hasn’t had a great decade, industry-wise. His movies haven’t fared particularly well lately (although they tend to still make money), but this year’s Pixels was particularly galling; it was seen as an inventive different take on what Sandler usually does (although, as it turns out, not that much different)and still bombed. More telling, several Native Americans walked off the set of a film currently being shot because of disrespectful jokes concerning Native Americans, the actors apparently not having ever seen an Adam Sandler movie before.

Bill Cosby
One of entertainment’s most iconic performers, Bill Cosby—who ushered in an integrated television show (I Spy), revived the sitcom (The Cosby Show) and proved that unorthodox educational methods, race, and mainstream America could get along quite nicely. Of course, if they hadn’t gotten along quite nicely, Cosby would have finished the job with a glass full of roofies and sexual assault. While the charges are—as always—alleged, the number and volume of accusations reached a point where they could not be effectively ignored.

Stephen Rannazzisi
Comedian Stephen Rannazzisi, known primarily for his role in the basic cable fantasy-football themed sitcom The League and nothing else, has long contended that his backstory (and, in no small part, a reason for his initial success) included being in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Fast forward over ten years later, and when reporters sussed out that the story was highly likely to be untrue (he claimed to work for Merril Lynch, which had no offices in the building) he confessed to making the whole thing up. With The League all but wrapped up for filming, the only immediate consequences was losing out on a sweet advertising campaign for Buffalo Wild Wings. Actions have consequences, and those consequences sometimes means not being paid in spicy chicken wings.
Donald Trump
Where to start with who is, as of the time of this writing, the frontrunner for the nomination to the Presidency by a major political party in America? Maybe we can stop at his announcement speech, where he threw Mexicans under the bus, or maybe we can stop at him calling out John McCain because he was captured  or maybe we can stop at him giving out rival Lindsey Graham’s home phone number, or inferring that Megyn Kelly was menstruating when moderating a GOP debate. And that’s just up through August! 

Kim Davis 
After the Supreme Court declared that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states, some individuals, it should be said, did not agree. Most people relegated their frustrations via poorly-thought out Facebook status updates or reserved anger until Thanksgiving dinner with distant relatives. But Kim Davis is nothing if not an overachiever; she extended her outrage into not performing the duties of her job, which, as the county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, is to, in part, issue marriage licenses. In refusing to issue same-sex documents (but also not resigning her post), she started a firestorm of protest across the nation. 

Walter Palmer
Big-game enthusiast and (apparently) highly lucrative dentist Walter Palmer decided to travel to Africa to bag him a lion. What Palmer didn't know--or chose not to find out--is that Zimbabwe is a soulless mass of corruption and sleaze, and relying to "local guides" to help him snag his trophy probably was a bad idea. So when he bagged the famed lion, a beloved tourist attraction in the fields of Africa, the international outrage was swift and loud, and conservationists took a long hard look in the mirror. And the world wrote poems and sang sad songs about...wait, what was the lion's name again? We all knew it this past summer like he was our best friend, right? 

Rachel Dolezal 
Rachel Dolezal was the head of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. So imagine everyone's surprise when it turns out that she was, um, white. Dolezal claimed that she "identifies" as black, which, while a little weird, most people can navigate through after a while, but one can't get past the rather obvious lies she had to create to get to where she was at. This, sadly, included accusations of people discriminating against her because she was black (which, to repeat, she was not), and it took almost six months before she would publicly declare that she was born white. 

California Drought 
For years, California was seen as the paradise of America—it’s where all the rich and glamorous people live. Even the industry is glamorous, being a major producer of wine and pistachios. This all came to an end, however, as a massive, months-long drought hit the Golden State. After the water tables were depleted and the poor people curtailed their usage, the major farms who decided to grow crops next to a desert suddenly found themselves in hot—well, not water, I guess. Crop insurance will make sure most of them will stay in business to cause this to happen again in a few years, so it looks like it all worked itself out. Well, when it starts to rain again.

Runaway Blimp 
There was a modest amount of slow-moving and extremely avoidable danger late this year when the military lost control of a blimp. That’s right—a blimp. No, this isn’t the Miserable Crank Awards from 1906. The blimp—apparently used to detect missile attacks, which is not a joke—became untethered, dragging a mile-long length of cable and causing property damage, knocking out power, and forcing the delays of airline trips. If ISIS has penetrated the US to the point where missile attacks are likely in the panhandle of Maryland and central Pennsylvania, we’re in big trouble.

Starbucks Cup
Poor Starbucks. The ubiquitous coffee chain that shows up on every street corner (literally) has tried, in recent times, to make some waves. They bombed earlier in the year by encouraging patrons to engage in a dialogue about race—because the one thing people want when they’re picking up their coffee is not convenience or price but to slow everything down and discussing a highly contentious issue that has nothing to do with serving ground up beans. After that fiasco, they decided to play it safe with unadorned Christmas cups—igniting the ire of (an admittedly extremely small) number of Christian groups who felt they were erasing the holiday—er, I specifically mean Christmas.

Twitter's Like Icon 
The highly popular social media application Twitter—tailor-made for quick access and even quicker consumption—has long been able to remain popular due to the ease of sharing and promoting content. So imagine everyone’s surprise when the historically pleasing “like” option, where one simply taps on a tweet to signify approval without actually having to rely on human-to-human interaction, went from the familiar star to the more awkward heart. Not a big deal to most, one assumes, but stars are universal—no, literally, they are what make up the universe. Hew3arts, on the other hand, carry certain connotations that people go to twitter to specifically avoid. 

Clickbait—the obnoxious attention-grabbing articles with sensationalistic headlines that compel people to read an internet article—have been around for a while; hell, they’ve been around since the first internet opened up in, like, 1980 or whatever. But it’s been honed down to a craft at this point, with ad revenue being maximized via things like slideshows and link farms, and the ease in which these articles can be shared in social media, especially Facebook, acts as a force multiplier. Sites such as Buzzfeed have grown exponentially this year because of tactics like these, so it appears as though we’re stuck with it for CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE ON. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT COMES NEXT!

[Voting is now closed.]

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